Morena (Madhya Pradesh) March 26 : Many railway passengers in India believe tossing coins into the river is like offering something directly to the God. Irrespective of how much the almighty is pleased, it certainly proves a boon for urchins and tramps.
One can find many urchins and tramps under bridge across River Chambal on the Agra-Bhopal route. They use magnets to collect coins from underwater.
Hundreds of coins are thrown into the river when the train on the Agra-Bhopal line crosses the bridge across River Chambal.
At least 50 Mail, Express and Passenger trains pass from this route on a daily basis. And even if the tossed coin is just fifty paise, River Chambal receives hundreds of rupees every 24 hours.
The coins settle down at the bottom or just keep lying along the riverbank.
Many urchins and unemployed youth hunt for these coins in the river. One can today find these children afloat on inflated tyre tubes on their treasure hunt.
They use a long rope with a magnet tied to it at the other end to collect coins, this has become a sort of profession for these urchins and adults.
Everyday their average earning is between rupees 60 to 100 (about Rs.3,000 a month). And, for most of them this is the only source of daily bread.
"I come here to search for money. Our parents do not have anybody else to earn. So we get rupees 50 to 60 here. We use magnets to collect. We do get scared but we have to search so that we earn some money. There are times when the amount goes upto rupees 100," said Rajkumar, an urchin.
Poor parents don't hesitate sending their children for this work despite being aware their kids could become victims of strong river currents or other dangers posed by crocodiles and snakes.
Most of the children, however, have mastered the tricks of gathering these coins. As for the adults and other tramps, they are proud of having trained many kids in the art of using the magnet.
These urchins and tramps just have only one demand from the Railway Minister Lalu Yadav: Please increase the number of trains passing over the bridge! by Ashok Pal